External Affairs Ministry justifies naval action against Somali pirates

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New Delhi, Nov 20 : External Affairs Ministry on Thursday justified naval action against Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

The Indian Navy Warship, INS Tabar, armed with supersonic BrahMos (PJ-10) anti-ship cruise missiles, sank a pirate vessel off the Somali coast after an exchange of fire with the pirates on Tuesday.

This is second successful operation of the naval ship against the pirates in Gulf of Aden, recently.

Justifying the action against the pirates, N. Ravi, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs said, "As far as incident of yesterday is concerned, the Indian boat took retaliatory action because they were fired at. And after I think giving reasonable warning, they retaliated and the result was that one of the so-called mother ships apparently sank. But it is still a report. So, effectively there are already two resolutions of united nations which permit all nations, all the countries to take recourse to a particular method by which they can deal with this problem."

Indian Navy said on Wednesday that INS Tabar, which is currently in the Gulf of Aden for Anti-Piracy Surveillance and Patrol Operations, encountered a pirate vessel, 285 nautical miles South West of Salalah (Oman) with two speed boats in tow.

It added that the vessel was similar in description to the 'Mother Vessel' mentioned in various Piracy bulletins.

On repeated calls, the vessel's threatening response was that she would blow up the vessel if the INS Tabar came closer. Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of the vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers.

The vessel continued its threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar, the navy said.

On November 11 also, the Indian Navy warship foiled an attempt by the pirates to hijack an Indian and a Saudi ship off the Somali coast.

The pirates on powerboats attacked the Saudi Arabia-registered merchant vessel MV Timaha, and half an hour later a second group tried to board the Indian merchant vessel MV Jag Arnav, owned by the Great Eastern Shipping Co Ltd.

INS Tabar, which is the third of the Talwar-class frigates of the Indian Navy, has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since October 23 as a sizeable portion of India's trade flows through the area and there has been a quantum increase in the number of piracy attacks in this region over the last few months.

During this period, the Indian warship has successfully escorted approximately 35 ships, including a number of foreign flagged vessels, safely during their transit trough pirate infested waters of the Gulf of Aden and also prevented two hijacking attempts on November 11.

The Navy carries out these patrols in coordination with the Ministry of Shipping and is intended to protect Indian merchant vessels from being attacked by pirates and also to instill confidence in the country's large seafaring community.

Meanwhile, another ship flying a Hong Kong flag but operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines has been hijacked in the Gulf of Aden waters. The status of the crew or its cargo remains unknown.

ANI

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